Photographers' Blog

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures 7 August 2011

After rioting in Xinjiang left 11 dead at the start of Ramadan the Chinese authorities stated that the insurgents who started the trouble had fled to Pakistan. Security forces quickly deployed in numbers to ensure that any further trouble was prevented or quickly quelled. Shanghai-based Carlos Barria travelled to Kashgar to shoot a story on the renovation of the old Kashgar centre, an example of China's modernising campaign in minority ethnic regions. A busy week for Aly Song, who is also Shanghai based, with taxi drivers on strike over rising fuel costs while Lang Lang had local fishermen preparing for typhoon Muifa to hit. In both pictures, the eye is cleverly drawn  to the distance to show in one image, a line of  striking taxi drivers, and in the other, rows of boats bracing for the imminent typhoon.

Ethnic Uighur men sit in front of a television screen at a square in Kashgar, Xinjiang province August 2, 2011. Chinese security forces blanketed central areas of Kashgar city in the western region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, days after deadly attacks that China blamed on Islamic militants highlighted ethnic tensions in the Muslim Uighur area.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Armed police officers are deployed at a square in Kashgar August 2, 2011. Chinese police have shot dead two suspects being hunted for a deadly attack in the restive western region of Xinjiang, which an exiled regional leader blamed on Beijing's hardline policies towards her people. The two suspects, Memtieli Tiliwaldi and Turson Hasan, were shot by police late on Monday in corn fields on the outskirts of Kashgar city, where on Sunday assailants stormed a restaurant, killed the owner and a waiter, then hacked four people to death, according to the Khasgar government website.  REUTERS/Stringer

 

A woman cooks in her house next to the remnants of other houses, demolished as part of a building renovation campaign in the old district of Kashgar, in Xinjiang province August 3, 2011. The 'renovations' of the old Kashgar center is a prime example of China's modernizing campaigns in minorities ethnic regions. However many city residents have mixed feelings about the disappearance of the narrow streets and adobe homes once hailed as the best surviving example of Central Asian architecture. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A man walks past taxis parked on the road during a strike in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province August 2, 2011.
Taxi drivers in the Chinese tourist city of Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province went on strike for a second day on Tuesday to protest about rising gasoline prices and congested roads. REUTERS/Aly Song

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures January 23 2011

As India heads towards their Republic Day celebrations, Prime Minister Singh makes minor adjustments to his cabinet while outside on the streets people demonstrate over food and fuel price inflation and corruption. Adnan Abidi produces a great picture as a middle-aged demonstrator gets to feel the full force of a police water canon. In stark contrast, B Mathur gets a glimpse of the dress rehearsal of the full military parade planned to celebrate India's independence where the security forces are deployed in a somewhat different manner.  Danish Siddiqui added to the file this week with a well seen picture to illustrate a government spending initiative with a man pulling a pipe across a building site, the shadow creating an eye like image that almost seems to wink at the viewer.  

INDIA/

Police use water canons to disperse supporters of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a protest in New Delhi January 18, 2011. Thousands of the supporters on Tuesday in New Delhi held a protest against a recent hike in petrol prices and high inflation. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

INDIA/

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels during the full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi January 23, 2011. India will celebrate its Republic Day on Wednesday. REUTERS/B Mathur

A postcard from Malawi

 From Mabvuto Banda, Namitete, Malawi, May 2

 - Bernard Banda makes $5 a day carrying people on his bicycle, good money in a country
where more than half the 13 million people live below a dollar a day.
 
    “I charge MK70 (50 U.S. cents) per trip and on a good day I
make about MK700 ($5) or more,” Bernard says.

Wood
 
    Banda is not the only one cashing in on a bicycle transport
industry now booming because of the rising costs of fuel pushed
up by strong global oil prices.
 
    Along Mchinji road — the highway linking Malawi to Zambia’s
eastern province — colourfully decorated bicycles are neatly
parked, waiting to transport students to a nearby government
college, nursing staff to a hospital and visitors around the
area.
 
    The bicycles are remodelled to suit the business. A second
seat is attached to the bicycle behind the driver’s seat. The
passenger seat is finished in colourful but cheap leather,
comfortably sized to accommodate any size of passenger.
 
    Stand by the roadside for just a few minutes and you can see
how important the bicycles are to the area.
 
    Bernard is hired to transport a bag of maize. Another 
driver picks up a new passenger and cycles off.
 
    “To do this you have to be strong because sometimes we ride
uphill carrying a passenger or hired to transport a bag of
maize,” says Langiton Sitima.
 
    This form of transport is fast-becoming a common sight
across Malawi. In each province the bikers are called by
different names.

Dear Mama
 
    “This form of transport is our future. I can no longer
afford to pay K150 ($1) a day for a one-way trip using public
transport,” says Maggie Yotamu, a student at the College of
Natural Resources which is along the route the bicycles service.
 
    In the capital Lilongwe and its surrounding districts they
call the bikers “Kabadza”, which means hard worker. In the
Northern Province they call them “Sacramento”, named after the
Brazilian buses that ply the long routes across the country.
 
    To underscore the importance of the bicycle, police have
been organising identity cards for these bikers.
 
    “In most cases police have moved in because we recognise
that they are giving a very important service to the public and
therefore we give them identity cards for security purposes,”
police spokesperson Willie Mwaluka told Reuters.